Kashmir rail-link cost up by Rs 16,488 crore: CAG
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Lack of due diligence and proper planning by the Railways has caused a massive cost escalation in the rail-link project to Kashmir, with the cost overrun at an estimated Rs 16,488 crore, the Comptroller and Auditor General has said.
The report, tabled in Parliament on Thursday, said the Railways did not carry out proper field investigation for the project. It said the decision over the alignment of the line was not backed by adequate research. The 290-km long Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla line's original cost was estimated to be Rs 3,077 crore in 1999-2000. This figure escalated to Rs 19,565 crore as a result of the cost overrun of Rs 16,488 crore.
The Kashmir rail project is one of India's most ambitious projects since Independence as it cuts through several stretches of mountainous region. "Had the project authorities conducted due diligence during the initial stage, including expert consultation, it would have been possible to minimise uncertainty on account of constructibility, paving the way for smoother implementation," the report said.
The auditor observed that the Railways should have carried out a detailed survey of the area in the section between Katra-Qazigund, the most difficult terrain in the project, before deciding on the alignment and gradient that was to connect maximum areas with habitation.
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